Reflections on the Dedication of the Margaret A. Newman Center for Nursing Theory

May 30, 2023 marked the official opening of the Dr. Margaret A. Newman Center for Nursing Theory at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center (UTHSC), College of Nursing in Memphis, TN. The Center is the first of its kind with a mission to promote the development of nursing theory and to generate new theories or expand existing theories with a particular focus on Dr. Newman’s theory of Health as Expanding Consciousness.. Using a model of scholarship, leadership, innovation, and practice, the Center provides for direct collaboration with international nurse scholars, practitioners, and students committed to generating knowledge for nursing education, practice, and research.

UTHSC College of Nursing Dean Likes (right center) and Dr. Margaret A. Newman’s niece, Donna Mehr (left center) commemorate the official opening of the Dr. Margaret A. Newman Center for Nursing on May 30. Pictured left to right is Newman Center for Nursing Theory advisory board members Drs. Marlaine Smith, Dorothy Jones, Jane Flanagan and Margaret Pharris. To the right of Dean Likes is Newman Center Director Marie Gill, Carolyn Graf, Mona Wicks, and Emiko Endo.  Photo: Brad Bradvest

Reflecting on the significance of the Center, Dr. Margaret Pharris (shown in the photo above) shared these thoughts:

The establishment of the Margaret A. Newman Center for Nursing Theory at the University of Tennessee College of Nursing in Memphis provides a unique physical and online space where nurses can advance their practice, teaching, and research based on Margaret Newman’s theory of health as expanding consciousness. In the UTHSC College of Nursing there is increasing capacity to advise graduate students who are using Newman’s theory to guide their work. Additionally, the UTHSC Archivist, Jennifer Langford ( is working to digitalize the Dr. Margaret A. Newman archive collection so that these valuable resources are available around the world. For example, you can access Dr. Margaret Newman’s 1978 “Toward a Theory of Health” talk at the Second Annual Nursing Theory conference in New York City, along with two panel dialogues in which 10 prominent nursing theorists share their views about the future of nursing theory. The Margaret A. Newman Center for Nursing Theory represents a significant step forward for the advancement of nursology.

– Margaret Pharris

The event dedicating the Center took place in the Dr. Margaret A. Newman Dialogue Room. Dr. Wendy Likes, Dean of the College of Nursing welcomed university faculty, students, staff, and guests, many of whom travelled long distances to attend. Among those attending were the Dr. Margaret A. Newman Center for Nursing Theory Advisory Board members (Drs. Emiko Endo, Jane Flanagan, Marie Gill, Carolyn Graff, Dorothy Jones, Wendy Likes, Margaret Pharris, Marlaine Smith, and Mona Wicks). Also in attendance were UTHSC Chancellor Buckley,  Donna Mehr (Dr. Newman’s niece), Leigh Ann Carkeet (Dr. Newman’s great niece), and Dr. Dianne Greenhill and Coleen Turman Bertsch (Dr. Newman’s BSN classmates, 1962). A tribute memorial was also given for Dr. Melody Waller who served as the inaugural Director of the Center.

Two permanent exhibits displayed Dr. Newman’s Doctoral Regalia from NYU, 1971 and a chronological overview of her academic career with emphasis on the development of Dr. Newman’s “health as expanding consciousness” theory. The Center’s Director, Dr. Marie Gill, revealed a portrait of Dr. Newman, gifted from an anonymous donor.

Dr. Margaret A. Newman Center for Nursing Theory Director Dr. Marie Gill and David Mills UTHS Government Relations unveil the Tennessee Senate Joint Resolution No. 520 on May 30. Photo: Brad Bradvest

David Mills, UTHSC Government Relations, read the Tennessee Senate Joint Resolution NO. 520, to acknowledge the establishment of the Dr. Margaret A. Newman Center for Nursing Theory and to declare May 30 as Dr. Margaret A. Newman Nursing Theorist Day in recognition for her laudable achievements and substantial contributions to the field of nursing! The reading of the resolution was followed by the ribbon-cutting with Donna Mehr, Dr. Wendy Likes and the Advisory Board,  

There are two episodes from the “That’s Healthful” podcast that are of great interest related to the Newman Center! The first is a discussion with Dean Likes and Dr. Marie Gill regarding the development and opening of the Dr. Margaret A. Newman Center for Nursing Theory.

The second podcast is a discussion with Drs. Gill, Carolyn Graff, and Mona Wicks regarding an introduction to nursing theory and an overview of Dr. Newman’s Health as Expanding Consciousness theory. This podcast is geared toward nurse educators, clinicians, and scholars. 

2 thoughts on “Reflections on the Dedication of the Margaret A. Newman Center for Nursing Theory

  1. Congratulations to all for establishing the Margaret A. Newman Center! The portrait of Margaret is beautiful. May the work of the Center expand consciousness for allnursologists!

  2. Congratulations to UTHSC! And good for us all in Nursing! Naming the “Dr. Margaret A. Newman Dialogue Room” evokes ‘Dialogue,’ exactly what is required to refine knowledge for Nursing! Let us all be inspired to engage in Dialogue -to struggle together in all our spaces.

    Let us openly challenge and respond thoughtfully to one another. We have entered a new, exciting era of de-colonizing our nursing knowledge, requiring listening to new perspectives. Let us commit to include concepts that we hitherto have considered ‘taboo’ and ‘not scholarly.’ Let us finally break our silences about how we have built racist, xenophobic and homophobic structural barriers into our conceptual frameworks. Deconstructing those frameworks will require us -ALL of us- to tear down the divisions that separate us.

    Can we integrate new knowledge into existing frameworks? Some do not think so, and cry, “Burn it down and start all over again!” Coming to the table of discourse – even with this perspective, is not futile!

    Some believe that we will not create a peaceful and just future until we tear down all disciplinary boundaries and engage in building a ‘Theory of Everything.’ I think differently. I believe in Nursing’s vibrant ontology. We know who we are. Nursing has our Ways of Knowing. While some of Nursology’s epistemology intersects with other disciplinary traditions, we deserve to remain in community, to struggle together. It will not be easy or comfortable, but I believe we need to remember who we are – NURSES! We are ethically obligated to create knowledge for NURSING!

    Disagree with me? Invite me to the table! Let’s all be inspired by the Dialogue Room at UTHSC to create Margaret Newman’s legacy for knowledge creation.

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